Having too much or too little?

“Too much!” I say to my 16-year-old. We have too much.
Don’t waste your food, eat what’s on your plate, I reiterate. Not because I am necessarily super altruistic about food waste—to me, it’s the “principal of the thing” –it affects us all—When one is a parent-one tries to set an example, teach right from wrong, good from bad, waste from conservation. Principals are tricky to teach-It’s more about action—how parents behave and act. How your parents acted-How you set an example for your kids through your actions. Words are a waste, we use them meaninglessly and ceaselessly. Indiscriminately.

I wish for the day when I can implement one Day of Silence at our house. To do so everyone in the household has to be in on it. To not speak for a day, a week, a fortnight. I do it at a retreat I go to three times a year. One goes about their daily routine, food is eaten with relish. It is as if we are down to the bare essentials on how to live well. We chew food properly until it’s masticated in our mouth, then swallowed, Movement is measured, thought about.

Beds are made, dishes are washed. Baths are taken. All this is done with reverence, respect and sparingly. After the retreat do we continue the silence for a week at home? I’d like to, if the family is up for it. I go to work. At work, the noise of voices overwhelms me! It appears to me that I am listening to gibberish. If speaking is having too much, I’ll take too little.

At home, my daughter joins me for lunch. We don’t speak a word to each other. We finish what’s on our plates, blow flying kisses with a wave goodbye! The economy of restraint. Maybe this is the way to live. Maybe. I look down at the floor and notice a tiny morsel of food dropped from one of our plates, I pick it up and feed it to the cat.

Dean

You were my mentor and I appreciated you for your kindness and care.
You would sit with me every day coaching me in physics to make sure I would pass the exam. Boyles law, Charles Law, and more of that. The dive tables I got. But, it was your faith in me and perseverance that made me the diver I am. So, we dove, and someone died on that open water dive. His log book was filled with fear. It could have easily been me, if not for you, and your kindness shown to me. Thank you so very much.

Kasbewa Tank ii

Kesbawa Lake ii

The retreat is situated near a lake that is man made
We arrive in the evening, the sun softly shimmering
The crows take off from the trees
Surrounding us and baulk, screeching into the
twilight, the smaller ones are nervous
We can tell–can they tell–that we are nervous, too?

But not about the crows. About the retreat.
And the disorder that we have,
Although he is miles behind me as
He stays off the medication.
I have been on it since May 2015 and
it has changed me in subtle ways.

We are massaged daily. Then
Left to do as will, in our rooms,
the garden or a walk around the lake.
Oh, how small our world gets,
So small that I am compelled to
listen to pod-casts
From far away and hear
a friend been interviewed.

The lady of the retreat
Wears a redda and hatte
She is concerned about our food,
which is good enough
But much better when we order
Pol sambal, kade paan, dhal curry, marmite,
An omelet SRI LANKAN style.
We sigh in pleasure.

I walk around the lake in the morning
There are a few walkers and joggers on the trail,
It’s clean and peaceful.
the light is crystal clear and soft.
the trees are plentiful:
Coconut, Palmyra, Jak, Mango
The incessant sounds of bird calls– a cacophony–
of which my uncle would be able to identify, I can’t,

I stare delightedly at a clothes line
Strung between two trees are the whitest clothes
I have ever seen. Waving slightly with the breeze.
A dress, 2 sarongs, a skirt, some dishtowels,
a pair of shorts. I am wishing I had my phone so
I could photograph it.

I break into a jog and look over
At the lake, the lotuses in full bloom.
I spot a man boating on a tire
He uses a short paddle and has a bunch of
rags tied on the tire which reminds me of the bundles
Dhobis used to carry.
He looks like he is about to light a pipe.

But he is boating so he can clean the lake.
I am hoping I’ll get clean, too.
At this gentle retreat where they
Look after you the traditional way
Using plants and herbs, oils and massage.
Softly coaxing, self – healing. I pray.